The VAT on wigs prescribed for medical reasons will next year be reduced from 21% to 6%, finance minister Vincent Van Peteghem announced.
Hair loss can result from various medical conditions, among them cancer (and the treatments for cancer) or a condition such as alopecia.
For many sufferers, a wig or hairpiece is the answer, but these do not come cheap. A wig in man-made fibre, for example, costs around €750, whereas a full wig in human hair will cost many times that.
At the same time, even with a medical prescription, normal health insurance only pays out €180 every two years.
"I suffered from hair loss very early on and later everything fell out due to a trauma,” one sufferer told the VRT.
“I had a very difficult time with it and therefore wanted the best wig, the most beautiful. Then you are quickly around €2,000 to €2,500 and it only lasts two years. So it's a big bite out of the budget, you have to save for it. For many people that is simply not affordable and so the VAT reduction can help," she said.
"People often have a hard time when they have to wear a wig, there is always a serious reason,” said Van Peteghem (CD&V).
“With this reduction, we can ensure that they save several hundred euros. And above all, that the threshold to a high-quality hair prosthesis is significantly lowered. That's how we think about the well-being of those people."
The idea came from his party colleague, parliament member Nathalie Muylle.
"I'm glad it's finally happening. Those people have to go through a mentally difficult process,” she said.
“And then it's great if we can make a little extra financial contribution. Then the people who need it can also opt for a better quality wig, which offers more natural looks. It's hard enough as it is."